As much fun as it is to celebrate traditional holidays at school, it can be just as fun celebrating some of those off-the-wall funny national holidays.
It is important to encourage elementary students to be active and creative, and it is equally important that they are excited to come to school each day! Celebrating oddball holidays, like Pretend to Be a Time Traveler Day and Dress in Blue Day, is an excellent way to diversify classroom activities and promote fun at school.
You don’t have to celebrate every day, but choosing a fun national holiday or two to celebrate in the classroom each month helps your students stay motivated and engaged.
Recommended Read How to Increase Student Engagement
National Tile Day [February 23rd]
National Tile Day focuses on the timeless elements of architecture and design. To introduce this unique national holiday celebration to the classroom, you could teach students about the basics of building construction and design. This is sure to be a hit with your architecturally-minded kiddos.
Follow up the lesson by having your students design their own floor tile. Encourage them to get as creative as they want and use a variety of different artistic materials. The tile designs can be used to decorate the classroom or you can compile everybody’s design into a classbook with a blurb about what inspired their design.
World Wildlife Day [March 3rd]
Classroom celebrations can also be taken out into the playground or fields. World Wildlife Day is a great way to indulge in creative activities outside. A classroom is a place of learning, and so too can the outdoors be. World Wildlife Day could involve anything from finding insects to planting flowers.
Allow each child to choose a seed or flower to plant on the grounds of the school. Each child can learn about what it takes to grow your own produce, as well as practice the planting cycle. Even beyond World Wildlife Day itself, they can look after their creations by watering and feeding them to help them grow.
National Dress-in-Blue Day [March 5th]
Dress-up or dress-down days always seem to be a hit with both students and teachers. Children love to dress up and come into school to show off their style to their friends.
To celebrate Dress in Blue Day, students can dress head-to-toe in the color blue or wear their favorite blue clothing item. To get those creative juices flowing, have them design a piece of blue jewelry or a blue crown leading up to March 5th.
Come National Dress in Blue Day, every kid will have their very own blue bling to flaunt around the school.
National Let’s Laugh Day [March 19th]
National Let’s Laugh Day falls on a Friday this year, which seems all too fitting, don’t you think? Sometimes the classroom can feel like a dull place, so injecting some laughter into a Friday afternoon can be a great way to lighten the week and get students excited for the following one.
The celebration could include watching a funny video or creating your own fun by having your students come up with skits or write their own funny comics. If you decide to go the comic route, you can compile everybody’s funnies into a classbook and publish it!
National Handmade Day [April 7th]
Nothing embodies creativity quite like National Handmade Day. You can celebrate this fun holiday by having your students make, well, anything! Students can choose to create whatever they want, which is a great way to encourage their hobbies, passions and independence.
If they love cooking or baking, they could cook up one of their favorite desserts the previous night and share it with the class (or during the COVID-19 pandemic, it might be a safer idea to simply have them share their recipe).
Your students could write a story, draw a picture, make a bead necklace, create a diorama, anything as long as it’s handmade! Dedicate the entire day to celebrate Handmade Day and let your students go nuts creating whatever their hearts desire.
National Space Day [May 7th]
National Space Day is a holiday every student is sure to enjoy. What kid isn’t fascinated by the great beyond?
This particular holiday can involve learning just as much as it involves fun. To celebrate National Space Day, have children dress as a space character, create their own space mission or create space-themed arts and crafts. The ideas are endless, and before the fun begins, you could teach the class about space history, events and science.
If you want your students to get really invested in the festivities, you can decorate your classroom with all kinds of space-themed decorations: pictures, spaceships hanging from the ceiling, glow-in-the-dark stars, you name it!
There are numerous ways to celebrate this national holiday, so you could ask your students to vote on which activity they would have the most fun doing.
National Read-a-Book Day [September 6th]
This national day dedicated to books is a great way to encourage children to read and appreciate literature. Although reading is an activity encouraged in most schools, you could make this national holiday more exciting by allowing the children to bring in their favorite books.
Alternatively, you could encourage the children to become the author. Have them create their own tales and write up short stories to share with the rest of the class. This idea is a bit different and maybe an option for those who want to be more creative.
Encouraging your students to create and write their own short stories is an effective way of enhancing their skills. You could even extend the celebration into asking the children to create their own book covers for their stories, which they can present and win prizes for.
This is another great opportunity to create a classbook and turn your students into published authors! What could be more fitting on a holiday about books and reading?
National Mad Hatter Day [October 6th]
The national holiday based on the Mad Hatter, the famous character from Lewis Caroll’s book, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, is a day that revolves around silliness and funny hats. Leading up to the national holiday, you could read the original book to your class.
Then, on the day itself, you and your students could create your own wacky head attire and watch the Disney movie in class.
Additionally, you could also have a tea party during lunchtime in the same vein as the book. The children could bring in their own food creations, or you could plan the spread. After the tea party, the children could read their favorite parts from the book, swap hats or tell their own absurd riddles as the Hatter does.
National Job Action Day [November 1st]
The day centered around finding your dream job is an excellent opportunity for children to get thinking about what they hope to be after education. National Job Action Day could involve the children sharing their ideas on jobs they wish to pursue when they are older.
To amplify the fun and add creative elements to the day, you could ask the children to come into school dressed in the dedicated career uniform for the day. For example, an aspiring firefighter could come in wearing a firefighting costume.
The children could then learn about their profession, create a visual or written presentation and share their discoveries with the rest of the class.
Alternatively, they could perform an action their desired job involves, such as organizing play money for a banker or practice checking a person’s heartbeat for a nurse. The ideas are limitless depending on the variety of jobs desired amongst your students.
Giving Tuesday [November 30th]
This holiday takes place on, you guessed it, a Tuesday! Practicing the act of giving can encourage children to be more thoughtful and kind. Giving Tuesday day could be celebrated in the classroom by asking children to make their own gifts to present to someone else.
This could work by using the secret-present-giver idea, like Secret Santa, and children could choose a name out of a hat. Whoever they choose is who they have to make a present for. This holiday is an excellent opportunity to teach children the values of thankfulness, giving and charity.
Recommended Read Teaching Kids Gratitude: Writing Prompts About Giving Thanks
National Pretend-to-Be-a-Time-Traveler Day [December 8th]
This funny national holiday centered around the concept of time travel and history opens up many ways to celebrate. Have students dress as their favorite historical figure, create their own time machine or practice a language for the day based on their travel location.
Celebrating time travel could also involve teaching your students about a particular historical event. For example, you could time-travel your classroom back to the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and every student can play a role in the event.
There are so many different opportunities for learning, growth and fun with this holiday. It can really be tailored to almost any period or historical event that you’ve been teaching about in social studies. Additionally, it could be fun to end the day by watching a kid-friendly time travel movie like Mr. Peabody & Sherman.
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National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day [December 17th]
For the period leading up to the winter holidays, it is always a fun idea to get into the spirit a little bit early. Encouraging the children to take part in Ugly Christmas Sweater Day is a fun way to dress up and be silly. To make it more creative, you could allow your class to decorate their own sweaters.
Additionally, they could wear their own sweaters and design on paper the ugliest Christmas sweater ever. The child who has designed the most creative and ugly sweater could win a prize. Involving a competition can encourage the children to be more excited about this funny national holiday.
There are numerous funny national holidays that all children can enjoy. Use these as opportunities to promote learning (and fun!) in the classroom.
Let your class decide which national holiday they would like to celebrate, or you can choose a holiday, and your students can decide how to celebrate it. Either way, celebrating some of these quirky, off-the-wall holidays is an excellent way to encourage your students to be enthusiastic about coming to school each day!
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The possibilities are endless with one of our classbook kits, and it gives your students an important sense of accomplishment and pride, knowing that they have contributed to a project that reflects books they see on their own bookshelves.